Hypertension – a silent killer


Hypertension is called “a silent killer”, since it slowly gets worse without any serious symptoms. Here’s what you can do to thwart hypertension.
(1) SLEEP 7 HOURS :  People who sleep 5 hours or less a night may be at a high risk of developing high BP.  Over time, lack of sleep could hurt your body’s ability to regulate stress hormones, leading to high BP.  It is not just how much you sleep, but the quality of your nightly slumber that affect you..  Researchers say that people with less deep sleep are more likely to have “sleep apnea”.   Even your age can have an effect.  Deep sleep declines as you get older.  So, try and sleep more.
(2) EAT LESS SALT :  Salt makes your body retain water.  If you eat too much, the extra water stored in your body raises your BP.  This can be a particular problem if you already have high BP.  If you are overweight, a high intake of salt increases your risk of cardiovascular disease.  Also, eating too much salt may mean that blood pressure medicines, such as diuretics, don’t work as well.  Abstain from processed meats, fish high on salt and table salt with meals.
(3) EXERCISE AT LEAST 150mins A WEEK :  For adults, the Department of Health and Human Services suggests some exercise guidelines —– at least 150mins a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75mins a week of vigorous aerobic activity.  You can do a combination of the two.  Exercise is your “drug-free” treatment for hypertension.  Regular physical activity makes your heart stronger.  A stronger heart can pump “more blood with less effort”.  But, to maintain a healthy BP, keep exercising regularly.  It takes about one to three months for exercise to have an impact on your BP.
(4) MEDITATE 10mins DAILY :  Stress is your body’s “natural alarm system”.  It releases a hormone called adrenaline that causes your breathing to quicken, and heart rate and blood pressure to rise.  According to a recent research, having a positive attitude towards life, keeping your mind free from stress, anxiety and following ways to de-stress are extremely important for warding off hypertension.  Meditation helps you to sleep better, which, as mentioned earlier, is a restorative part of physical health.
(5)  EAT MORE FRUITS & VEGGIES :  A diet rich in fruits and vegetables combined with low-fat dairy foods significantly lowers BP.  Fruits and veggies are full of vitamins, minerals and fire to keep your body in good condition.  They also contain potassium —— specially starchy vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes.  They are low in sodium which helps to balance out the negatives of salt, lowering the BP.
(6) LOSE WEIGHT :  Obese individuals have an increase in fatty tissue that increases their vascular resistance, and in turn, increases the work the heart has to do.  If you are overweight, losing even 2-3kg can lower your BP.  To lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn.  Do it slow and steady.
———– supriya.sharma2@timesgroup.com


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